Poch Peralta

Freelance Writer / Blogger,

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Is TED's move to enable speakers to provide annotated citations a good move?

'In the 21st century when connecting a fact to a source is as simple as taking two seconds to add a hyperlink, there is no excuse for creating work without references. We expect it of secondary school children, so we should expect it of journalists, academics and politicians. So credit to TED for taking this step. Now it's time for publications such as the Mail Online who still fail to link to their sources when describing scientific research (as if their publication was still being printed on parchment), to follow suit...'
http://bigthink.com/neurobonkers/why-teds-move-to-enable-speakers-to-provide-annotated-citations-is-such-a-good-thing

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    Apr 2 2014: I think this is a great change. This encourages a speaker to to make sure his assertions can be supported and gives any talk greater credibility and therefore usefulness to the listener with a serious interest in the subject.
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      Apr 2 2014: I agree Fritzie. In fact, I was wondering why TED allowed citing of sources without attribution before this.
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        Apr 2 2014: I think there is a record of statements by TED on this. TED is, after all, not an academic lecture format. It is less formal than that.

        Let me draw a parallel to a couple of other sites.

        You read Big Think and link to it often. On Big Think the stories typically link to a source, but if you listen to the video clips, I don't know whether those are annotated so that claims are traced to sources as they would be in a formal publication.

        As another example, I read a site called edge.com, which is an assembly of scholars from different disciplines speaking and participating in symposia about big questions and issues.

        When they put the speaker's informal talk to his interdisciplinary colleagues or to an interviewer online, I don't believe they annotate the talk, though in that case the speakers are scholars so they may naturally cite to sources as they speak if they are not referring to their own formal research.

        Those who are not working in a scholarly setting often think saying "there is lots of evidence" is supporting a statement with evidence! Claiming there is evidence is entirely different from citing evidence. If someone says there is evidence, he should be willing on request to furnish it so that the reader can assess whether it is credible, reliable evidence or weak or, in fact, fraudulent. Obviously this doesn't apply to personal information. It would only be rude, for example, to ask you to prove you live in Manila.
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          Apr 2 2014: Anyway, I'm sure TED knows what it is doing. I was only suggesting attribution to anything because Google and websites are becoming stricter as days go by. I missed the fact that TED is a non-marketing site!

          'Those who are not working in a scholarly setting often think saying "there is lots of evidence" is supporting a statement with evidence!...'
          I admit guilt to that lol. Sometimes because I was in a rush or sometimes because of plain laziness. But of course I am always ready to produce source evidence if ever it is requested---which has never happened so far.
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        Apr 3 2014: Oh, I too sometimes simply say "there is evidence". For me it is not laziness but only that I know lots of people don't like reading material that sounds too academic/scholarly. I too always have a citation at hand if someone requests it. Not everyone operates this way, though.
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          Apr 3 2014: And I'm glad we both operate that way sir. If we're ever accused of plagiarism or spreading false info, even if untrue would leave seed of doubt (and damage) among audience.
        • Apr 7 2014: I too very much like the idea of speakers providing annotated citations. It seems like that is very much in keeping with the theme of spreading ideas that make a difference responsibly. It permits readers or listeners that are interested in a particular line of thought to continue the pursuit of this line of thought.

          Although it is difficult to do something similar In the format of a 2000 character blog entry it is often a goal to provide a much evidence as possible and still make a point. When I respond to posts, I like to focus on key words and provide a Wiki definition as a base to remove any ambiguity from the word before I try and connect ideas. Typically, the wiki has many links to supporting documents, so it is a less direct way of getting readers to original works.

          As a personal observation, I find the lack of skepticism in readers a bit alarming. A person that believes all of what they read without questioning the logic, wanting to see the evidence or challenging the findings when they conflict with prior beliefs is easily manipulated. Just as an informed customer is a salesman's worst fear, informed readers and readers that demand to see the proof for propositions put forward are the intellectual watchdogs separating true experts from charlatans, manipulators, and heretics. This extra step requires a level diligence and desire for thoroughness on the part of the reader. Sadly, I think the trend is more instant belief, or at best checking on line for a thousand other opinions rather than looking at the evidence and forming your own conclusions. For those willing to do this work however, the ease with which information can be obtained and the breadth of information available become mighty tools. Demanding readers are usually the people that uncover flaws with current thinking and help change the course towards a supportable opinion, which is usually the path to truth.
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        Apr 3 2014: If you quote someone, Poch, you must give attribution. Otherwise, that is plagiarism. You know as a writer, you cannot take someones words without attribution. Similarly you cannot state someone's idea as if it were your own.

        That is not the issue with the annotations in TED talks. That is a case of making a statement and linking the evidence behind your statement.

        Different issue.
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          Apr 3 2014: Yes Fritzie. Again, the danger of linking just evidence behind our statement which is surely a different issue.
  • Apr 4 2014: "TED is a non-marketing site" Opps, time to upgrade that statement... "TED 'was' a non-marketing site"

    IMHO I like both (references and no references) References is after the fact and takes time to stop and document, just like comments on a website or operating on a patient, or even writing a book. When you are in the "flow" you cannot keep interrupting the flow to document or you will loose the inspiration, the connection, the unexplainable source of great things coming through you, the channel, whatever name you want to call it. That is the job of any great orator, not to connect to the speaker, for the speaker to connect the audience to the source which is being channeled through the speaker, so they can see the real source and beauty of the message revealed through the speaker.
    After words you can document all you want to your hearts desire. Otherwise who needs a speaker, just read their book. Speakers are about passion and excitement and inspiration not just documents.
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      Apr 4 2014: So glad to be chatting with you again Keith.
      Do you mean that TED is now advertising? I don't see any sir.

      The way you understand the writer's flow makes me assume you are a writer too.
      Sometimes I assume too that speakers are better writers. I mean not even many excellent writers have the talent of orating and as you implied, speakers are more passionate. Am I correct?

      Btw, I'm always being intrigued by your profile pic. It looks like a medieval painting! Was the photo doctored?
      • Apr 4 2014: Poch thanks for all your kindness toward me. On ads, TED makes money in a variety of ways which so far are less intrusive than most sites but it is getting worse. Every time you see a name brand it is advertising. Look at the any stage and somewhere you will see the huge letters TED, that's advertising (albeit there own), where ever a speaker mentions the name of their product, that's advertising or their company again advertising. When they show slides or video on the big screens with brand names or products that's advertising. Whenever Chris or someone else comes up and talks with the speaker they always bait us with questions and then Plug the speakers product or institution. All of this is subtle advertising. On the new version the video part has lots of room around the video screen and no way to make it fullscreen. That space around the video will sooner or later be ads I would bet my life on it. It is still the best site out there but the ads on the way it is just the inevitable evolution of any media site who wants to make more money and TED wants to make more money also because more money means they can do more stuff, attract more talent and so on. TED is slowly turning into "America's Got Talent" on a Global scale.

        The picture is my photo layered with a background of white marble from the Supreme court building to make it look similar to the marble bust's of the ancient Greek Philosophers and then I just whited out the eyes. The different colors in the beard are natural, you will find the same trademark on many of the greatest Chinese Philosophers. I love Ancient Chinese Philosophy above all the rest and almost all Philosophers since then have copied there style and substance.
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          Apr 4 2014: I have no idea how I was so kind to you sir but I'm very happy to hear that!

          I see now what you mean and how TED is subtly advertising. Anyway, I still praise TED for not advertising without shame like most sites. I will cross the bridge with you when and if TED becomes a marketing monster.

          'TED is slowly turning into "America's Got Talent" on a Global scale.'
          lol Funny but astute!

          I indeed forgot to mention that you looked like a buddha! Great job on that photo!
        • Apr 4 2014: A citation is not an advertisement. It is a sign that one is actually trustworthy instead of a demagogue.
  • Apr 11 2014: TED, I don't even come here anymore because of the bad quality of the curation that we experience at the hands of a few admins...

    I even created this account just to shime in and not watch my every word as I have to do with my main account.

    It's apparent that TED is doing worse and worse since they don't listen to the community at all anymore.

    How do you like the new "website" btw? New skin is what it is, nothing has changes except appearance.

    They bring in 100 experts to redo the site and the best thing they did was pretty illustrations of they work they were thinking about doing.
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      Apr 11 2014: You described TED exactly as I described Wikipedia Dorian.
      Most website redesigns look better but are time-wasting. Since they are bigger, you have to scroll down more which takes more time needlessly---exactly the case with Twitter and Slashdot recently. I rarely use redesigns.
      Thanks Dorian.
      • Apr 11 2014: Well, I'm all for redesign actually. As long as it's done right!

        But putting a new skin on a faulty system changes nothing. We still only have three degrees of comments on here for example. EVERYTHING under the surface remains the same.

        I was promised by one of the developers that TED would change and that it would become more modular, it sounded like a complete redesign...

        I've given up on TED actually and today's TED Talk just shows how bad it has become...

        Oh and don't tell people who I am but you know me, I'm a rouge that once tricked you into watching a Talk that you had only read. ;-)
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          Apr 11 2014: Oh you, the naughty!! lol so you use an alias now? Or is this your real name?
          Yes. I think TED's commenting system could be better. Anyway, I think Twitter's replying system or 'tweeting' is the only neat one.
      • Apr 11 2014: No, my other name is my real one. Everything about my true profile is true.

        I just don't like to abide by these strict commenting rules right now and I've therefore created an account where I won't care if it's removed or not. I've put so much time into my other account that I don't want to lose it and me and the admin(s) have never really been on good terms as I cause a ruckus...

        And that was by staying within very strict guidelines of behavior. Now I can just call bullshit and move on if I see fit.

        The (ehm, one of the) problem with TED is that by this commenting system it equates everyone's opinion as equal. Which is utter bullshit! But I still have to scroll through it, I can't rely on any voting system to solve it for me beforehand as it's only upvotes here and there are so few as it's limited so people forget once they're blocked.

        I really don't like this place or the "loud, bossy Jewish girl" (according to her Twitter profile) that decides what can and can't be said...


        I just came to TED because of today's Talk, which shouldn't be featured. And I thought that I'd check in and see how some of my old pals are doing.


        This name is a play on another name "Dorian Grey" - a fictional character that can never die and does not get old, is fluent in the arts and sciences. That name is however taken on most sites so I chose a shade of grey named Gainsboro.
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          Apr 11 2014: '...I chose a shade of grey named Gainsboro.'
          Very British. So I thought the name was familiar! Great choice.
          So that's why you disappeared for months and I was just beginning to wonder about you. I almost did same with Facebook when it suspended me for my activism but decided that FB is a useful messaging tool.

          '"loud, bossy Jewish girl" (according to her Twitter profile)'
          My, my...that is real attitude! There's another female socio here who is obsessed with me---trying to manipulate me by her criticisms. She'll get it from me sooner than later.

          Hey Doro come on. Forget the negative vibes here and join the melee again. I miss the fun with you.
      • Apr 11 2014: Aww, I really would. But there's more bad content on here than there is good and I have no way of filtering it...

        Also, this inability to filter makes the one who screams the loudest seen the most, and I wholeheartedly disagree with so many on here. They're giving their ignorant opinions on things that they know nothing about, and persist to hold those views.

        We (you) get Young Earth Creationists debating on equal terms with real scientists and so on. TED Conversations is mostly full of unsubstantiated opinions. And people wont even view Talks when provided to them that are relevant to the discussion.

        TED was a good stepping stone for me, and I'll continue to monitor the Talks to see if their worthy of viewing (lately it's been bad). But unless TED Conversations change in a fundamental way, I'm done with it. I'm not learning anything new here, the pace is MUCH too slow and in most cases when I come here to teach it's to people who do not want to be taught. There are a few exceptions (like you) but in general I find this true.

        TED does not satisfy my thirst for knowledge and the debates that I have are no longer rewarding for me as I've seen it all before on here.


        Edit: On top of that the topics that are up for discussion are filtered by the Admins, so even if I try to start a thought provoking debate about meaningful stuff and put a lot of effort into writing it, it will mostly be a huge waste of my time... :/
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          Apr 12 2014: Sorry to hear that buddy. I can't do anything about your decision which I understand and is acceptable to me.
          And speaking of filtered submissions, more than 50% of mine are dumped. I sure hope I don't come to same situation as yours where I feel condemning TED altogether.
          Do me a favor and keep peeking in from time to time buddy. I suggest you try LinkedIn Group discussions. It's my alternative to TED.
      • Apr 12 2014: Yes, the linked in discussions are really thriving in comparison to the ones on TED's web page. And that's only because it's unofficial and isn't guarded by ferocious admins. The unofficial group has about 1000 times more member than the official one on LinkedIn, now if that doesn't say it all I don't know what does.

        I'll check in from time to time, and you can always send me an email if there's anything you wish to talk about.
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          Apr 12 2014: And so if you like meeting lots of people, LI swamps TED.
          Ok Dori. I'll be expecting your visits.
  • Apr 5 2014: I like it - by reading the notes and hopefully there will be references which can be checked out.
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      Apr 5 2014: Well...I think the move is good too Wayne.
  • Apr 4 2014: I trust nothing without citations. Until there are citations, all messages are merely expressions of opinion. Even with citations, most messages are still merely expressions of opinion. Everybody has an opinion, but not everybody pulls down their pants and bends over to show it.
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      Apr 4 2014: Well, I think we all should be careful that way especially when we're writing non-fiction. Although I'm not that strict when I'm just gathering opinions. But I question suspicious ones. Thanks Bryan!
      • Apr 4 2014: There is a hatred of citation among the hoi-polloi. This is because they refuse to consider any evidence valid beyond "I feel"., and if the feeling doesn't agree with their own, it is automatically right. Murder is less of a sin than rigor.
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          Apr 4 2014: The stupidity of the masses again. I'd rather hate citations from Wikipedia editors---or rather distrust them.

          'Murder is less of a sin than rigor.'
          Your second great metaphor in 2 comments! You are poetic Bryan.